Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fare Thee Well, 2009.

I loved 2009. 

In it, my boys got bigger.  I found more reasons to love my husband.  I found increased passion about health care reform and our general care for humanity.  I became more secure and comfortable in my own skin.  I learned a lot from so many people.  I was challenged by those who don't feel the same way I do.  I watched the Obamas become the First Family.  I worked really hard.  I, with the country, said good-bye to Senator Ted Kennedy, and subsequently read his autobiography.  I joined Facebook and reconnected with so many people.  I realized that some people love me in spite of my beliefs instead of because of them.  I fell in love with Modern Family.  I went on my first ever week-long summer vacation.  I had my first-ever garage sale.

It was a good year.  In it, I was very happy, and could not ask for anything more than that.

Wishing you a very happy new year.  God bless you all.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Family Christmas

Christmas at my parents' house.  Gorgeous.


Friday, December 25, 2009

My Favorite Present

For Christmas, my husband had the first six months of my blog published in a book (Volume I).  I don't know where he did it or how, but I am grateful.  I now have a hard copy of this special place.  It's something I've always wanted, and it was the most thoughtful thing! 

I hope you holiday was as special!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Year in Status

For those of you who couldn't read it on Facebook:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Letter

I didn't send one with my Christmas cards this year (a first in many)
so I'll share it here. 

2009 was an incredible year for me, especially from a human-connection standpoint.  I have always loved people.  I am facinated by personalities and love to learn from and interact with others...always have.  So when I joined Facebook in January, I was blown away. 

I was back in touch with people I thought I'd never have contact with again.  I was back in touch with people I had completely forgotten about.  I had an easy way to share my life with my online-only friends.  I spent some time actually missing some people.  When we reconnected, I remembered the reason we were friends in the first place, and I was lonesome for their actual phyical position in my life.  I have made peace with web-only relationships, though.  Our communications will never be the same, and for that, I am grateful.

In regular news, we had a regular year.

Cory worked his ass off.

I worked my ass off (had a lot of listings; but not very many sales...'tis the market today).  I spent a lot of time raising my kids. 

Cole successfully entered 7th grade, got his Gun Safety Permit, and went hunting (and shot his first doe).

Matthew is a typical four year old.  I love this age of learning.  Right?  Everything is a question..."Mom.  What letter does 'shoe' start with?"  "Mom.  What words start with 'L?'"  "Mom.  What is that word?"  "Mom?  How do you spell sister?" 

Jack is...Jack.  You already know him, I think.  Love personified.

We're happy.  We're super healthy (thank God).  We're ready to kick some butt in 2010.

I wish you love this holiday season.  I wish you comfort, and warmth, and happiness.  God bless.

Remember, Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we have gone astray,
O tidings of comfort and joy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The One

The Sunday before Christmas in 2002, Cory proposed.

We met in May 2002 and pretty much knew by the end of that summer that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.  So, I was kind of waiting for the proposal.  There were two occasions prior to that Sunday that I was pretty sure he was going to do it.  I was wrong. 

My mother-in-law's family had planned an ornament exchange.  I think his cousin Scott (Shane?) had my name.  I had no indication there was anything going on, except I do remember noting that it was strange that everyone had their cameras out the entire time.  I just thought they made a really big deal out of ornament exchanges...seriously, each person holding up their ornament for photos, videotape...big ordeal.  When it was my turn, Cory had wrapped my ring inside a glass ball ornament.  It was wrapped in tissue, though, so when I pulled on the ornament string, the whole top popped off, so I pulled the ring right out.  Cory got down on one knee and well...that's the story.  I said yes. 

I love that it was unexpected.  I never would have imagined he'd propose in front of anyone else, so I was clueless.  And I wouldn't change it for anything.

(Heading out to show off my ring.)

A couple weeks ago, Jo wrote a lovely blog entry about her wedding and asked how we knew He was the one for us.  I told her I'd blog about it, but now that I'm doing it, I'm finding it hard to put into words.  All of it is so cliche and really was this:

I just knew.

I think Cory and I had had enough Wrong to recognize Right.  We were both worn out from really hard relationships, and there was just never anything hard about ours.  We communicated easily, connected instantly, and to this day, have nothing but the greatest respect for each other.  I can honestly say that I never had a moment's doubt prior to our wedding, or since.  I realize that this is the greatest of blessings.

I'm an idealist, not a realist, so I believe with all my heart, that we'll be together forever.  I do believe that God brought us together at exactly the right time...after all the heartache of previous relationships so that we never take for granted what we have together.

Also, when I said I was going to make a paper chain for the remaining 30 days until our wedding, he didn't laugh at me. 
He simply hung it up. 
That's love.

Oh, and a great Part II of this story.  Cole wasn't with us that day.  So the next time we were together, he was sitting on my lap (he was five) and we were putting up the Christmas tree (a tiny three-footer, as I recall it).  I told him that Dad had already given me my Christmas present and that I was wearing it. 

"That sweatshirt?!" he asked of my grubby garb. 

"Nope," I told him, "It's on my hand."

"Oh, that ring?!"

I told him that it meant that his dad and I were going to get married.

He pumped both fists in the air, "YES!  I'm gonna have TWO moms!"
(Bet he doesn't feel that strongly about that still today!)


I just knew.  I just know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Matty's Christmas Program

I'm too tired to blog tonight, and I might be tomorrow too. Here are a few photos from Matty's preschool Christmas program today to tide you over. I'll get back to blogging as soon as I get a nap.

(It's a donkey. With glitter.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

My First Parental Head Wound

I've complained about it before, but it's a lot of work to get a family of five organized for any time away.  This weekend we're at Grandview Lodge in Brainerd.  It's delightful.  Everything is beautiful and I love this family.  But it's a ton of work to prepare because, well, it's winter.  So I need really warm bundling clothes for being outdoors and sleigh rides.  I need swimwear for the indoor waterpark.  Plus the regular clothes, dress up clothes for the party Saturday night and a few pair of shoes.  For five.  Oh, and a potluck dish.

And I'm the kind of mom who doesn't like to leave the house a mess to come home to, so it's a lot of work to get out the door.  Cory is working today, so most of it fell on my shoulders this morning (to his credit, he helped me with everything I asked him to yesterday.  God bless my sweet husband.).

---  I typed up three long paragraphs about how it happened, and then realized it wasn't that interesting. ---

This is the short version:  Matty plowed into the corner of a wall at 10:30, half hour before our anticipated leave time, and left a gaping, bloody wound. 

It's my first head wound.  I didn't know what to do.  Cory was in an all-day training.  I called our friend Chuck, a paramedic, and then realized that it was Friday, not Saturday and he wouldn't be available to help me.  I called Matt, a friend, firefighter and EMT.  He didn't answer.  After I carried Matty upstairs, Chuck called me back (wonder how frantic my voicemail was...?).  He asked me a few questions and urged me to take him in.  I decided to err on the side of caution and do just that.

As I was loading the kids up, Matt called me back.  He said he didn't have to be at work at the fire station until noon and would head right over.  By then I had a new plan and told him I appreciated it, but it wasn't necessary.  I already had the bleeding child loaded up and the other two at my inlaws. 

Long story short, they didn't have to stitch it, they just put a little Durabond on it - glued it together instead of sewed it - and after tons of blood and even more tears, all was well.

Matt called me a little later saying he planned to have the guys come by in the fire truck to cheer Matty up (we were already enroute to Brainerd).  Chuck sent me a message saying to call him anytime - day or night - whenever I needed help.  Those guys rock.  They make me feel warm and special and loved.  To have that kind of support system is amazing and I am grateful for them. 

And with three rough boys, I'll probably need them again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's a Winter Bubbleland

Matty begged and begged to play bubbles when he found them in the toy closet today.  So, I told him if he bundled himself up, he was welcome to take them outside.  He did.

Here he said, "Hey, Mom!  Look how high they went!  Do you think they went to Jesus?"  I'm sure they did, Son.  I'm sure they did.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Jack has a LOT of 'tuff.  He likes to collect things around the house, and claim it as his 'tuff.  Sometimes it's all in one bag, and sometimes it's loose.  Statements heard around here lately: 

"This is all my 'tuff."
"Don't touch my 'tuff."
"Can you carry my 'tuff?"

This is tonight's version of 'tuff.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Card

Oh Matty.  Where did your pudgy little boy legs go? 

I miss him as a baby so much.  Time does go so fast, doesn't it?

Happy beginning-of-the-holidays!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Homemade Blessing

I don't know if I've ever received a homemade gift.  Seriously.  I have been very blessed in my life, and never felt without anything.  Every Christmas and birthday is a happy memory.  My parents worked so hard, and I am grateful.  But they bought the toys and things they gave me, as I have for my children.  And others.  I might have mixed a tape or two in the day, but that's about as "homemade" as I've ever gotten.

Cory said his dad used to make him a lot of toys.  He remembers all of those handmade treasures so well.  And now, his dad made me something too.

I asked for this creche for Christmas.  Well, last year I had suggested it, and my mother in law thought maybe my father in law could make it.  I put it back on my list this year, thinking maybe he would.  He did.  When I got to my inlaws on Thanksgiving, I found what my father in law had put together.  He looked at the measurements of my nativity set, and made it just tall enough.  He didn't want to buy an entire bail of straw, so he scooped up some of what was laying on the ground around the hay bails at Bachmanns.  Don't tell.  Stolen hay in Jesus stable.  Heh. 

Here it is, completed:

It was exactly what I wanted.  No. More than I wanted.  Because he took the time to put this together for me.  It is the perfect gift.  I understand that now, and am grateful.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

When I was a Little Girl...

...all my friends were grown-ups. Shari would go to school and I would go down the street to a number of elderly couples' homes - primarily Ellen and Wally Harris and Paul and Tea Keifer's. My mom said she worried I would never have friends my own age.

And she might have been right for a time. Friends my own age wouldn't feed me treats and let me fill the bird feeder.  And tell me I couldn't drink coffee because I might get a black neck.  I loved those days. 

Years later, I saw Ellen Harris when I was working at the Dairy Queen.  They used to come in Sundays after church for a hamburger. One day when I was bringing them their food, she called me by name.  "Leanne.  Sit down."  So I did. She asked me if I remembered the time I came to borrow something for my mom. My mom evidently gave me strict instruction that I was to come straight home, and to not stay and visit.  Ellen told me that my mom wasn't too happy, though, when I came home with cinnamon roll icing on my face. 

I don't remember that particular incident, but some of my earlies memories are filled with the love of those couples. I can still remember the smell of their homes, and I never see a chickadee when I don't think of Wally. 

I wasn't yet in kindergarten, so I suppose I was Matty's age.  It makes me think how important the memories he's making today are so important.  I hope my boys earliest memories are as happy as mine are!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I need to wrap up my Thankful posts.  Tomorrow we're celebrating the holiday with my husband's family and I am really looking forward to it.  Last year I hosted my WHOLE family (sans Amy's, maybe...?) and it was a zoo.  This year, I get to show up and bring a vegetable.  While I enjoy the chaos, I'm looking forward to a little less of it this year!

I've really enjoyed doing the Thankful statements.  Next year I'll probably just do one week, but it really has been a good exercise to say what I'm thankful for out loud.  There is so much to be said for gratitude.  I am thankful for it, in itself.

1. I'm thankful to be a woman.  To be living in an age and country where women are allowed to be strong and intelligent is one of my greatest blessings.  I told Cory recently that it's too bad for him he didn't know he married a feminist.  In all fairness, I didn't know he married a feminist either.  In the past few years, I have realized more and more how strong I am and how empowered I am by my gender.  I might blog about this again in the future...if I didn't already.

2. I'm thankful for all of you.  All of my friends.  My sisters.  Bits and Pieces.

3.  I am thankful for my children.  All of them.  They are beautiful, intelligent creations of God.  I am overwhelmed at the responsiblity God gave me to raise them, but am honored that He did.  They are a joy.

3.  I am thankful for Jesus Christ, my Lord.  That I am free because of His sacrifice. 

I wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. 

All my love.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I'm a sucker for pajamas.  Clean, warm children snuggled up in jammies.  But no one does them like Gymboree.  I love their Gymmies.  Our Christmas tradition is that from us, the boys get a pair of jammies and a book from us.  This year, the little ones are getting this pair and this pair.  Gymmies plus firetrucks.  Can't beat it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Spiritual Series: Part III


The boys are getting older.  In the past month or so, they really play together.  They run around together, play hide and seek, chase, and wrestle.  I love it.  As a consequence of more together time, they also fight more.  They hurt each other physically more.  They need to forgive each other more.

I have a really concrete Forgiveness Plan in this house and it's usually when they make me angry.  It goes like this:

Child:  I'm really sorry, Mommy!
(and somethimes:  I said I'm really sorry, Mommy!)

Me:  I forgive you.

And I force myself to forgive them.  Even when I'm still mad.  Because that's what real forgiveness is.  It's not just words.  And it's hard.  Really hard sometimes.  Matty, the sensitive one, isn't usually okay with just an "I forgive you."  There are frequently requests for smiles to affirm my forgiveness..."Please, Mommy, just smile at me!"...and almost always followed up with hugs and kisses.

This has been an interesting exercise for me.  It's really hard to just stop being mad.  But they have challenged me to dig deep and discover what it really feels like to forgive.  I'm grateful for that.

In the past month, I have also needed forgiveness from a friend.  In converations about something really important to both of us, we both let our emotions get in the way.  We said hurtful things to each other.  And, at the end, when it exploded, we talked it out.  And we forgave each other.  Because it's the right thing to do. Life is too short to make enemies.  To harbor ill will.  Even when we hurt each other and when we're hurt. 

We can't say we believe in forgiveness if we don't practice it, right?

There's a really good book called Amish Grace.  It's about the Amish that forgave the shooter who came into their schoolhouse and shot those children some years ago.  The book affected me deeply.  They were able to forgive a man who killed their children.  I think they're right.  I think we need to forgive even when it's hard.  I pray to God that I never get the opportunity to test how forgiving I really am.  And I pray that if I do, I pass the test!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cole's Mom

The reality is, it's a world where blended families are the norm, and children become the pawn between adults who should know better.  Stepparents love their stepchildren less than their own and as a consequence, the children harbor feelings of inadequacy for life. I have had the pleasure of speaking to adults who grew up in a blended family, and they have been able to shed invaluable light on my situation. 

For those of you who don't know, Cole is my 12 year old stepson.  He had just turned five when I met him, and had his sixth birthday the month of our wedding in 2003.  (So hard to believe now that Matty is creeping up on that age!)

I told Cory shortly after we started dating that I thought it would be best if Cole's mom and I were friends.  I had learned that Kelly was about my age (two months older).  I thought I could be sensitive to her role as I entered the family if I worked hard enough.  I do not know if she thought this was important at that stage in our relationship, but I knew her friendship was something I had to try to have. 

I'm sure it was hard for her.  Cole had asthma as a child and as a consequence, she was very protective of him.  Understandably.  I didn't know him in those days, but I've seen the video of his wheezing while he was just crawling around.  It wasn't until I was a mom myself that I truly appreciated what she had to go through those first few years of his life.  It must have been hard to have me, a stranger, march in and stake a claim on her child.

We had a few bumps, as I recall it, but it didn't take very long.  Kelly came to our wedding, and has been an important part of our lives ever since.  The boys call her "Auntie Kelly" and spend a lot of time with her.  She is Matthew's godmother and loves the boys so much.  I have the unbelievable privilege of knowing that if I'm struggling as a stepmom, she'll have my back.  She's always been wildly supportive of my helping to raise Cole and I do not take that lightly; I know how unusual our healthy relationship is.

I hope she knows how much I value her.  I hope she knows how much it means to me that she has shared Cole with me the past seven and a half years, and how much it means now that she's sharing Vance with us too.  And, most of all, how much I value our friendship.

In this time of Thanksgiving, this was one of the most obvious, and one of the most emotional to write.  I wish the same happiness and love in your family this holiday season and forever.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Retinal Perspectives encouraged me to do this today.  It's a good day for me to dig deep and find happiness around me.  Closing eyes now...sigh...thinking...

My children playing together; my husband playing with my children
Elderly couples holding hands
My children learning; their eyes full of excitement and wonder

Banana bread
The boys just out of a bath
Windows open on a beautiful day
Sauteeing onions

My husband's strong arms around me
My boys' arms around my neck
The strength of my legs when I run
The warmth of my electric blanket

Children laughing
The voices of humanity
The white noise of a fan
"I'll love you forever."
Songs of praise

An icy cold fountain soda
The salty goodness of triscuits
Chocolate and peanut butter. In any combination.
My husband's kiss

Friday, November 13, 2009


This happened inadvertently, but I wanted to make sure to straighten it out.  I have a friend Amy Isaacson.  I also have a sister Amy Isaacson.  In the comments of this post, Amy Isaacson is not my sister.  She is a friend of mine who has similar political leanings.  My sister Amy is smart and caring, but you probably won't find her participating with really strong opinions. She usually signs her comments "Sis Amy."  She no longer has internet at home, so I've been missing her comments for the past couple months.

My apologies for not realizing that would be confusing for some people...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leftover Turkey Recipe

I took this recipe from a Pillsbury magazine, the kind you buy at the checkout (the photo is theirs as well).  I have had it clipped to the side of my fridge with the other receipes I've been meaning to make it for a long time, and finally got a chance last night. 

I had to leave for a showing before dinner was ready, so as I headed out the door, I kind of shrugged at Cory and said, "It'll be done in 15 minutes. There are frozen pizzas in the freezer if it's no good."  Forty five minutes later, I got this text, "Dinner was a HIT.  There's some left for you, but only a little."  Ah, super.  Blogworthy (and timely - just before leftover-Thanksgiving-turkey season).  Here it is; enjoy!

Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole

1 c cooked white rice
1 c cooked wild rice
2 c diced turkey breast (I used a rotisserie chicken)
2 c shredded mozzerella or montery jack cheese
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 c finely chopped chopped red pepper
1/2 c finely chopped chopped green pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley, if desired.

Heat oven to 350.  Spray two quart baking dish with cooking spray.  In baking dish, mix whit eand wild rice; spread evenly over bottom.

In large bowl, mix turkey or chicken, cheese, milk, bell peppers, eggs, salt and pepper.  Spoon over rice.

Bake 45 - 55 minutes or until knife in center comes out clean and top is lightly browned.  Let stand five minutes before serving.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


My cousin Lesli posted a note in her facebook status that from now until Thanksgiving she's going to say one thing she's grateful for. I think it's a charming idea, so I'm going to play. However, I'm going to use this blog from time to time to talk about my daily status update if I can't fit it in the "what's on your mind" box.

I encourage you to do the same!

Today, I am thankful for Shannon. She is my oldest friend. I think. Pretty close. She is one of my closest friends today. We talk on the phone many nights after the rugrats go to bed. Our conversations are thoughtful and usually lengthy. I feel like I can share anything with her. Interestingly, we have very different views of the world. But I understand why she has her viewpoints; her life is much different than mine.

But mostly I love her because she loves me. No, more than that. She understands me. She gets me. And when she doesn't, she pushes until she does. And I know I drive her crazy. I know our arguments discussions get the best of both of us, but she always forgives me. We have worked through so many disagreements, and shared so many great moments. She's always supportive of me, and shares in my excitements, frustrations, and joys. I pray that I can be as good of a friend to her as she has always been to me.

I saw the photo in my post below on Saturday. Shannon didn't read my blog, but when she drove by it today, she posted in in her status update. Because she said it made her think of me.

That's how well she gets me.

I am grateful.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Love Covers All

I saw this on my way to Cokato today. It felt like a timely message.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


He may or may not have gotten into the halloween makeup today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Health Care Reform

I have a good friend who is in an unfortunate situation. It involves the health care dilemma in America. She is an example of what many people are going through and I asked her permission to share her story. She said I could.

My friend and her husband have two children. He works two part-time jobs, more hours than a full-time job, but has no access to health insurance through either employer. She was employed for a health care clinic, and they offered health care to her, but not her family. Because my friend has a history of health issues, she of course purchased a plan through her employer for herself. They were working hard to make ends meet.

Six weeks ago, she got injured. She fell and broke her ankle. She had to have surgery to repair it, and it included seven pins and a plate to put it back together. Her husband did the best he could to pick up extra hours to cover the difference, but it's obviously been very difficult. During her medical leave (unpaid), she was laid off. Not only does she now have no prospect for income in the near future, she also lost her health insurance.

The State of Minnesota is currently paying 60% of Cobra for nine months if you lose your job. She and her husband are going to be able to cover the expense of Cobra for those nine months then, but have no idea what they'll do beyond that. She is not yet in good enough health to find another job, and isn't sure when they will be.

Here you have a hard-working family who cannot afford to buy private insurance for themselves. It's not because they're lazy (which seems to be the code word for anyone who would benefit from a government option) or want someone to just hand it to them.

My opinion always has been that we should have a government program, with affordable premiums, available to all Americans so that people like my friend and her family do not have to go without health insurance. I cannot even imagine what would happen if something else happened to any of them!

For those of you who oppose a plan like this, what do you suggest? They are not alone. If you look around, you'll find countless people who do not have access to health insurance through their employer.

I'm just so sad that the proposed plans are weak. That they're really not going to help anyone in this tough time. I'm sad that we're not taking care of each other.

It's been awhile since we talked about this. Anyone up for a discussion? (As always, anonymous comments are not allowed.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Coffee or Tea?

Some people use fancy methods of drawing winners for giveaways. There are some online applications like Not me. Here's my humble drawing.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Rooliegirl! What'll it or tea? Thanks to all for participating!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Did you feel your boobs??

The drawing for this giveaway is tomorrow at noon(ish). Last chance to do your monthly self-exam!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Raking Leaves

I don't know when I fell in love with yardwork. This is the first year I sort of took it over from Cory. He's a yardwork genius, but his schedule is crazy and I don't mind doing it. I love being outside with the kids, so I've done most of the mowing and now the raking this fall. I suspect I'll do much of the shoveling this winter, too.

The thing is, Jack is two and a half. It's not hard to be out there with them anymore. He does disappear from time to time, but it's nothing like the past years when he's been in an exersaucer or 18 months and unsure of boundaries. They love it, and I love it. Especially when I am able to capture this moment:

Plus, how fun is it to photograph these colors? I can't get enough. They go as fast as they come, so I'm soaking them up.

Today I raked 14 bags of leaves. With one shoe on. If you're not on facebook, you don't know that I have a neuroma on my right foot and it's super painful when I wear a shoe. So after 15 - 20 minutes, the shoe came off, the sock stayed on, and we got the job done! I feel accomplished, but sore. Cory can have the next turn!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Just before she puts hers to sleep,
Mother Nature gives us one last gift.
I think she hopes it'll last us
Until everything comes to life again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wild Rice Soup

I'm posting this recipe for Amy. And whoever else wants it. It's my mom's recipe, and it's DELICIOUS.

6 T butter
1/2 flour
1 T chopped onion
3 c chicken broth
2 c cooked wild rice
1/2 c diced ham
1/2 c finely chopped carrots
3 T slivered almonds (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 c half and half

Sautee onion in butter. Stir in flour, let it cook until smooth. Add broth. Cook together, stirring. Boil one minute. (I add my carrots at this point and let them boil to soften them a bit.) Add ham, wild rice, almonds, and salt. Stir in half and half. Heat only to serving temperature; do not boil once you've added the half and half or it will separate.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Be Aware.

I'm sure you're aware that it's Breast Cancer Awareness month. Because early detection is so important, I'm doing an Amy's Blend giveaway.

All you have to do is tell me that you've done your monthly self-exam and I'll enter you in the drawing for a bag of Amy's Blend coffee or tea (and if you drink neither, there are some cool water bottles available). And if you're a man, and you read my blog, then tell me you've reminded your wife, or your mom, or another important woman in your life to do hers. Actually, it's a good idea for you to do it, too! I saw this story in the news this week. Breast cancer can affect anyone.

Drawing will be held next Friday, October 30 at noon.

*Note: I am aware that if my coffee hadn't dripped all over, this photo would have been a lot better. It was really full. And it was raining.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weapons of Love

What you can see in this photo are Jack-Jack's weapons. He has a sword, a lightsaber, and a pistol. He takes them all very seriously. He hadn't yet put on the whistle he uses when he dresses like this. If you can't sort through the weaponry to draw the conclusion, he's a police officer.

What you can't see is the stuff he carries inside of him. His light, his thoughtfulness, his intelligence, and his amazing capacity to love. He loves EVERYONE. He talks to everyone, smiles, waves, and greets all people. I love that about him.

A week or so ago, we were at the grocery store. A very elderly woman was in line behind us. He was making eyes at her and she was smiling at him. He turned to me and asked, "What's his name is?" I said to the woman, "Ma'am, wants to know your name." She told us her name was Eunice. "Oh, HI, Eunice!" said my sweet little man. The look in her eyes told me that at that moment, he made her happy.

He makes me happy every day. Even when he's sassy. It's my prayer that he always uses all of his weapons for the better good. For his momma and all of humanity!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

For Julie

This is a really hard time of year for me.

I love fall. The colors are startling beautiful. I love fall desserts. I love the feeling of a warm fire and apple cider on a chilly day.

I also despise it. It's the last hurrah before it's bare branches and snowflakes. Actually, I don't mind the snowflakes. I just hate the cold. It's so hard to have two little rugrats who need to be bundled everywhere we go.

You know what? Never mind. I'm going to make the best of it. Here are the winter positives:

1. We can play outside. Jack is 2 1/2 and can really enjoy the outdoors this year!

2. They can kind of dress themselves. Yes, we'll have sloppy wet clothes, but I'm going to come up with a drying solution in my mud room. I've been blessed with a really great big room inside the garage that I can come up with a better system than we've had in the past.

3. I have an electric blanket. I'll be warm at night. :)

4. And before it comes, I get to enjoy Autumn. I'm not going to let the winter 'foliage sleeping' season to bring me down. It's my choice, right?

Happy weekend, everyone!

Monday, October 5, 2009


My sister-in-law Trista gave me these beauties from her tree this weekend. I have three new neighbors and now I have a great ingredient to whip them up some yummy treats to welcome them to the neighborhood.

When I explained to my sisters that couldn't make an desserts right now because my apple peeler/corer/slicer broke last fall, they all said they don't own one, either. They peel by hand. GASP!

Call me lazy or spoiled, but I'm heading over to the local hardware store to procure myself a little peeler/corer/slicer so I can make some apple crisp, for much less effort than my sisters. Peel away, ladies.

What's your favorite fall dessert?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Spectating a Sport?

Saturday we went to the Plymouth 5k. Krista and her hubby were running, and a bunch of other people I knew (including these two rock star Plymouth firefighters, Mike and Michael, who did it in fire gear). I thought it would be fun to go cheer them on. I've been to the Twin Cities marathon a few years and it's so great to watch! Those runners are such an inspiration and really appreciate the spectators cheering them on.

I will never run a marathon. I'm pretty sure that if I'm going 26.2 miles, I'm gonna drive there. I admire those with determination to do it, I'm just not one of them. I'll go down to the river and watch the marathoners, I'll give them the support they deserve. It's an achievement for athletes, and I hold them in high regard.

But I could run a 5k. I saw runners who were obviously struggling (and heard stories of some who were struggling, but it wasn't obvious), but they did it anyway. And 3.2 miles is nothing to sneeze at. It does take a measure of discipline to be able to complete it. I actually ran one once. I finished near the end with two elderly (and by elderly, I mean 70s...?) gentlemen who encouraged me the whole way. I don't remember my time, but I remember the feeling of accomplishment. And I want that again.

How about you? Do you run? Have you set a recent goal? Inspire me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Sheesh. Can't a girl take a Blogcation?

Seriously, I have a lot on my mind. I've just had a hard time putting it into words. I have several topics in mind, but I'll run with this one:


How do we actually 'love' others?

I have been thinking of this a lot. If I am to love my enemy (and I believe I am), how do I do that? First, I have to define my enemy. Who is that? Someone who threatens me physically? Then I guess we have to look at our global enemies, those who might take away our physical freedoms, right? I think that's the easiest way to define the word. Then how do we love them? Pray for them? Send good thoughts? Physically MOVE OUR BODIES INTO ACTION and help them? Julie just read a book called Three Cups of Tea, maybe she can share some of that here.

I think that's too easy, though, too literal. Who else do my enemies include? People who have hurt me? Sure. People who still hurt me? Yep. And when I dig deep into that well, there is where I see where I'm lacking in love. Without getting into politics again*, I will say that others' viewpoints have hurt me. And I know that's wrong. And unjust. But sometimes people, through their opinions alone, have caused me pain.

So...what have I been working on? Loving them for our differences. I just re-read Embraced by the Light (changed my life years ago and was as powerful this time), and I realize now that it doesn't really matter if we have differences. We're all on different spiritual journeys and they're supposed to be different. We're supposed to see things differently.

So sometimes, when I see a hateful status update, or a venomous blog entry, I need to learn to leave it alone. To pray for peace and happiness for that person or entity and move along. And don't feel those negative feelings towards them. It's counterproductive and, frankly, a waste of precious time. I don't think loving them means trying to convince them that I am right. I don't even think it means calling them out on their negativity (although I did that once or twice). I think it means loving them for exactly who they are. Even if I don't agree with it.

Mindi and I have mastered this. We've had lots of practice. Politically, we are classic Right and Left. We have a very hard time finding middle ground. But it's humbling how our relationship has changed, and grown, because of our love for each other. And our love for humanity, actually.

Who else, then, is our enemy? Anyone who challenges our emotional comfort? Anyone who takes more than they give? Anyone who makes poor decisions and makes others suffer for them? Anyone who makes us angry? Anyone whose lifestyle we do not condone?

And, most importantly, how do we love them?

*From now on, I'm going to try to keep my political conversations to facebook. Because it's as exciting (right, ladies?!) and there's no risk of anonymous posters. If you want to be my friend there, find me. I accept everyone.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

There is nothing cuter than a four year old on his first day of preschool. These two are so stinkin' cute. I picked Grace up this morning, and spent the 10 minute car ride listening to them talk. CUTE!

(Discussing their "homework." They had to color an elephant their favorite color.)

Matthew: My elephant is green. I colored it all by myself.
Grace: Mine is a rainbow elephant.
Matthew: Brown isn't in the rainbow.
Grace: No one helped me either!
Matthew: Do you like my fancy shirt?
Grace: It's awesome. Do you like my shirt? My mom bought it at Penney's. Like her name.
Matthew: Yeah.
Grace: Do you like my pants?
Matthew: Yes.
Grace: Do you like my shoes?
Matthew: Yes, and I like your socks! Do you like my shoes?
Grace: They're awesome.

No, kids, YOU'RE awesome. Hope you have a great first day of school!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken Tetrazinni

I'm trying to remember if I posted this recipe before, but I didn't feel like digging. I'm making this for dinner. It's easy and so yummy, so just in case, here it is again:

2 1/2 cups un-cooked broken spaghetti
1/2 stick butter
3 T onion, chopped
4 oz can mushrooms with liquid
1 can cream of mush soup
13oz can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp salt and celery salt
2 cups cooked chicken (canned works well, or rotissere chicken)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (I use More)
Parmesan cheese to top the dish

Cook spaghetti until tender, drain and rinse.In skillet, melt butter saute onion and mushrooms. Add soup, milk, seasonings, chicken and cheese. Put spaghetti in 9X13 buttered casserole. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

30 Hours

I had 30 hours to myself this week. Like...ALL to myself. No husband, no kids. Amazing how therapeutic that can be for a mom. Here are the things I discovered/learned:

1. Silence is golden. And kind of strange at first when you're not used to it.

2. The house stays very clean when I'm the only one in it.

3. Time for Mom is the greatest gift a Grandma can give.

4. Sleeping in is very foreign. But dreamy. Literally.

5. I can get more done in six hours alone than 40 hours with kids

6. I love my mom.

7. The boys bond better with Grandma when Mom isn't there.

8. There are a lot of mosquitos in the country and my boys are wearing proof of that.

9. It's good for City Boys to act like Country Boys once in awhile.

10. I missed them.

11. I still miss Cory. Four more days!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bless us, O Lord.

We say this prayer at mealtime:

Bless us, O Lord
For these thy gifts
Which we are about to recieve
From thy bounty
Through Christ, our Lord,

Jack says:

Bless us, O Lord
Bless us, O Lord
Bless us, O Lord
Bless us, O Lord
Bless us, O Lord

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mindi's Giveaway

My friend Mindi is pretty smart. In the past year, she's gotten her finances in order. Big time. She's a follower of Dave Ramsey. She has a private blog, but since she feels so strongly about the benefits of his program, she wants to extend the giveaway to the readers of my blog. If you follow hers, feel free to enter there. If you're interested in winning an online session or an in-person class, feel free to sign up here.

Please know that I already entered. I kind of want to win, but getting serious about our finances scares me. I know that's ridiculous, but no question I'm the spender in this family, and I'll have some habits to change. And change can be scary, but it can be GOOD.

Here is her information:

So I took Dave Ramsey's FPU and L.O.V.E.D. it. Have I ever told you that? And I've always wanted to give his class away to someone who really needs and/or wants it. It's invaluable information and I want to share. I want you to love it like I love it. (Remember: his class can benefit everyone. From someone severely in debt, to someone who just needs to learn about insurance, real estate, investing, etc. Basically, everyone.)

After browsing his website and seeing that it is on special, I decided now is the time. I even called Dave Ramsey's office and secured the special price until the end of this month, to make sure I am covered. You'll learn things like that in his course. I giggled and told the customer service rep that I wouldn't pay full price because I took the course and I'm smarter than that.So, (ahhhhh! I'm letting out a scream. I'm a little nervous and a little giddy. It's a big deal to me.) that's what I'm going to do. I'm offering a drawing for either an online class or (better yet) an actual class. If it's offered in your area. The lucky winner can pick which one they want.

And I'm drawing the name on Saturday, September 19th at 11:59 a.m., MST.To enter, you need to solemnly swear that you will follow through and take FPU. Please. Because I know that there are some of you who won't win that truly will invest their time into it. So, please, do that for me? It's a big deal to me. Thanks.

Good luck! May the biggest spender win. Hehe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Creativity in Color

I took this photo the other night of a page I had ripped out of a catalog. I don't think I'm going to frame it like Libby did (or maybe I will...). She's so creative. What unusual things do you have framed in your home?


I sort of forgot about Teletubbies. Matty loved them when he was two, but they're not on our cable PBS station right now, nor On Demand. I wonder why. Anyway, I let Jack watch a Teletubbies DVD on my computer today. He loved it!